UK Defence Statistics, 2011

UK Defence Statistics, 2011, published online by the Ministry of Defence on 28 September 2011, shows that, compared with the Integrated Household Survey (IHS) for 2010-11, our armed forces remain nominally more religious than the rest of the population (doubtless, in part, a legacy of the historical institutionalization of religion in the forces). However, those who profess no religion are steadily increasing.

Table 2.13 reveals that 13.4% of armed forces personnel claimed to have no religion, when the snapshot was taken (1 April 2011), an increase of 0.8% on 2010 and of 3.9% on the 2007 figure. The proportion was higher in the Royal Navy (18.8%) and the Royal Air Force (16.2%) than in the Army (10.5%). Of the remainder, 85.0% were Christians (against 89.8% four years previously) and 1.6% from other religions (much smaller than the national average and perhaps a reflection of continuing underrepresentation of ethnic minorities in the services).

Table 2.33 analyses the religion of civilian personnel. The complication here is that religious affiliation was either undeclared or uncollected in the majority (52.6%) of cases. Of individuals providing a response, 71.7% were Christians, 5.0% non-Christians, and 23.2% categorized as ‘secular’ (this last figure is identical to the IHS statistic for all Britons). Trend data are given for 2008 (when Christians numbered 73.3% and seculars 21.4%), 2009 and 2010, and statistics are disaggregated by pay grades. There were fewest Christians (66.5% in 2011) at the most senior grades. 

Both tables can be viewed at:

BRIN’s coverage of the religion tables in UK Defence Statistics, 2010 remains available at:

British Religion in Numbers: All the material published on this website is subject to copyright. We explain further here.

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